'I have never rehearsed for any song'
Urmila Matondkar recently replaced Mallika Sherawat from the judging panel of the dance reality show Chak Dhoom Dhoom Season 2. The latter was apparently shown the door for throwing tantrums.
Urmila talks to Rajul Hegde about how the show will now take a turn.
So you have replaced Mallika in the show.
I don't need to think about anything that happened before I entered or what was done by anyone else. I enter the show in the gala round. From that point, the show takes a completely different twist!
Image: Urmila Matondkar
'I have always said what I have felt'
Why made you take this show up?
Dance has been very close to my heart. I am very passionate about it. I find myself at my best when I am dancing. I don't know how well I can dance but I'm in the best state of mind and body when I dance.
I thought the show had an interesting format because groups will be judged here, not individuals. We will get to see unique or even new dance forms on this show.
I will bring in my own liveliness as a judge. It's challenging to judge a TV shows because you don't have any lines. You just have to be yourself.
I want to be the medium between the contestants and the viewers. Whenever I have met viewers after these kind of shows, I've got a instant connection because I don't mince my words. I have always said what I have felt.
What will be your judging parameters?
The group has to have great technique, energy, footwork and synchronization.
I remember when we did Chamma Chamma (the item number in China Gate), the choreographer pulled out all the girls in the background and kept only the boys. The girls couldn't synchronize well because of the heavy costumes.
Image: Urmila Matondkar in the Chamma Chamma song
'I am hoping to get inspired on the show'
What kind of equation do you have with your co-judges, Terance Lewis and Javed Jaffrey?
Superb! Javed is an institution. I have seen him dancing for years. He is witty, apart from being a fabulous dancer.
Terrance and I have worked together on a couple of shows. Whenever he choreographs my acts, he tries to push it further knowing the kind of dancer I am.
Once, for an international cricket award function, we didn't want a regular Bollywood act. He made me dance in five styles -- jazz, ballad, salsa, rock 'n' roll, ending with Chamma Chamma, the Moulin Rouge version. That was one of my best stage performances.
Is there any dance form you wish to learn?
There are many. I am hoping to get inspired on the show.
I remember I had to do the salsa for a song in Bas Ek Pal. Even though I knew salsa, I had to learn it from scratch. Only then does it become something else.
Image: Urmila does the salsa with Sanjay Suri in Bas Ek Pal
'The Mehbooba Mehbooba dance was very difficult'
Which was the difficult dance you've done?
The Mehbooba Mehbooba song (in Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag). The foot movements are not seen much but I had to get into the water, stand on my toes, sway my hips and do the signature step. It took two days to get the step right. After that, I couldn't walk properly.
Do you get enough time for rehearsals when you perform on a particular song?
I have never rehearsed for any song, except for signature steps like the one I talked about earlier, and during Chamma Chamma. For Chamma Chamma, I was asked to rehearse for 15 days. But I was so busy, I could give only three days.
When I saw the choreography, I almost collapsed. I thought I wouldn't dance well even if I danced for a whole week. And I couldn't get rid of the 100 grams of silver jewelary either because I had already done the photo session for the song. I had to dance wearing all of it. I remember (director) Raj Kumar Santoshi constantly asking me to remove some jewellary. But I said I'd manage. After that, I wanted to slap myself! But the jewellary kept slapping me whenever I would take a turn!
There was so much tension while performing the song.
Image: Urmila Matondkar in the Mehbooba Mehbooba song
'Prabhu Deva is superb!'
Did you have to restrict yourself when you were judging celebrities on the other dance reality show, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Season 2?
Yes, I was restricted because they are celebrities in their own way. Sometimes it puts you in a tight spot. But in this show, it will be more challenging for the dancers as well as the judges.
Is there any dancer, who makes you nervous?
Prabhu Deva is superb! I have danced on his choreography but not with him. When I watched that song (in Hindustani), it was the ultimate! It was exciting because it takes dancing to another level.
Who is the best choreographer in the industry, according to you?
All of them are good in their own style. For example, Ganesh Hegde beautifully choreographed Kambakth Ishq and while Ganesh Acharya choreographed Chamma Chamma.
Image: Urmila in the Kambakth Ishq song
'I want to do something that will excite me'
What TV shows do you watch? And what else do you do when you're not working?
I watch travel and living shows. I am not into saas-bahu soaps. I am an avid reader and traveller. I like to read and know more about archeology and the animal kingdom.
What's your favourite destination?
Italy. It's full of life, good food and cultural heritage. I am looking forward to visit Greece and Spain too.
Any place you didn't like?
I went to Namibia for Mast. I was shooting a beautiful song where I had to look like a chand (moon).
It was difficult because there were a lot of insects there, and a very strong wind. My dress started flying as soon as I got out of the car (in the song). Dust would fly into my eyes, and yet I had to look like a chand and give the best expressions.
Why aren't we seeing you in films now?
I want to do something that will excite me.
Image: Urmila Matondkar